Caro­line in­stalls new Fire Po­lice pro­gram

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com

DEN­TON — Caro­line County sworn in about 30 mem­bers of the county’s new Fire Po­lice di­vi­sion at the Caro­line County Court­house Tues­day, June 13.

Fire Po­lice, who op­er­ate un­der each of the county’s vol­un­teer fire de­part­ments, with the author­ity of the Sher­iff’s Of­fice, will be con­duct­ing traf­fic con­trol, spe­cial event de­tails, as­sist with search and res­cues and a va­ri­ety of other pub­lic safety tasks. The Fire Po­lice mem­bers sworn in rep­re­sented all of the fire com­pa­nies in Caro­line County.

“Tonight is a very ex­cit­ing mile­stone as we launch the Fire Po­lice Pro­gram in Caro­line County,” said Caro­line County Sher­iff Randy Bounds. “Ac­cord­ing to our records, from as far back as Oct, 30, 1993, when Patty Gordy wrote a let­ter on be­half of the Caro­line County Fire­man’s As­so­ci­a­tion to the Caro­line County Com­mis­sion­ers, Fire Po­lice has been a vi­sion of many through­out the County.”

Bounds com­mended Caro­line County Depart­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Bryan Ebling and his team for the work they have put into the pro­gram over the years, call­ing the pro­gram win for the com­mu­nity.

“We started tak­ing a real hard look at it again sev­eral years ago and re­al­ized that the sec­tion of the law al­low­ing Fire Po­lice in Caro­line would not be ad­e­quate, al­low­ing only three Fire Po­lice mem­bers from each fire com­pany,” he said. “Thanks to our County Com­mis­sion­ers, Chief of Staff Sara Visan­tainer, Del­e­gates and Se­na­tor, we were added to another sec­tion of the law in the 2015 leg­isla­tive ses­sion that was much more fea­si­ble for Caro­line, al­low­ing for 12 mem­bers per com­pany.

“Since that time, thanks to the hard work and re­solve of Chief J.T. Bartz from the Golds­boro Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany and Capt. James Hen­ning of the Caro­line County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, de­tails were metic­u­lously ham­mered out to cre­ate a struc­ture within which Fire Po­lice could op­er­ate ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively.

“The project evolved through great deal of lo­gis­ti­cal work by Di­rec­tor Bryan Ebling and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Chief Steve Hur­lock at the Depart­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices to en­sure that ad­e­quate ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pro­ce­dures were put in place,” he said. “At that same time, the Caro­line County Fire Chiefs As­so­ci­a­tion en­dorsed poli­cies and pro­ce­dures to en­sure a smooth and well-run or­ga­ni­za­tion across in-county ju­ris­dic­tional bound­aries.”

Join­ing Bounds and the Fire Po­lice mem­bers at the cer­e­mony were Caro­line County Com­mis­sion­ers Dan Franklin, Larry Porter and Wil­bur Le­ven­good; Golds­boro Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany Chief J.T. Bartz on be­half of the Caro­line County Fire Chief’s As­so­ci­a­tion; Caro­line County Fire­man’s As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Matt Morean; Sen. Ad­die Eckart, R-37-Mid-Shore; Del. Jeff Ghrist, R-36; Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B; and Caro­line County State’s At­tor­ney Joseph Ri­ley.

Ebling said when the Fire Po­lice con­cept was first brought forth in Caro­line County, Ghrist was work­ing as a col­lege in­tern for the county, pro­vid­ing leg­isla­tive re­search on the cur­rent laws and what would be nec­es­sary to in­clude Caro­line in the laws at the time.

“It is my be­lief the cit­i­zens of Caro­line County will be well served by the Fire Po­lice, and in par­tic­u­lar the group that stands be­fore us to­day,” he said. “Thank you for your ser­vice, and thank you to ev­ery­one that made to­day pos­si­ble.”

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

About 30 fire­fight­ers get sworn in to Caro­line County’s new Fire Po­lice di­vi­sion at a June 13 cer­e­mony at the Caro­line County Court­house.

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